Young Clarenville students interested in music have an exciting new opportunity thanks to a recently launched pilot project from Memorial University.
The Giocoso: Teaching Artists in Newfoundland and Labrador program is a music education initiative, created by Memorial University’s School of Music, designed to serve rural areas of the province.
Its goal is to support pre-existing music education in areas like Clarenville, supplementing teachers' work by providing instruction in instruments or voice types which are currently underserved.
Local music teacher Ann Lundrigan told The Packet the pilot project is definitely needed in the area. She says there aren’t many private music teachers in town, and estimates as many as 100 young music students were displaced when about three different studios closed over the past couple of years.
In addition to providing varied musical instruction for young students, the MUN program also gives music students valuable teaching time in different environments — demonstrating opportunities exist outside of larger urban centres.
Lundrigan say through conversation with Dean of the School of Music Ian Sutherland a couple of years ago, they discussed the need for graduate students to help teach locally.
“There’s going to be a good response,” she says. “They only stand to benefit because they’re getting quality education from these kids who are in the prime of their musical playing.”
The pilot project includes in-person lessons once a month and lessons via video conferencing every other week. Giocoso lists an array of instruments for instruction including flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, piano, guitar, violin, viola and voice. Recommendations for interest in other instruments are invited.
In addition to private lessons, chamber music and workshops are also planned as part of the program.
Lundrigan says more than half a dozens students have already signed up.
The program had its official launch at Clarenville Middle School Oct. 4, with program manager James Paluk and six MUN music students in attendance.
Clarenville Mayor Frazer Russell also contributed a $500 cheque from the town to help support the program.
The student teachers performed for those in attendance and Clarenville high and middle school students were given hands-on experience with many instruments, in what is called a “Petting Zoo", offering a taste of what they can expect in the coming weeks.
The program is open to all ages and skill levels. Bursary programs exist for eligible students.